The United States opioid crisis is about to get a new spotlight thanks to the upcoming Netflix original 6 Balloons. The drama film stars Dave Franco, younger brother of actor James Franco, and Abbi Jacobson from the Comedy Central series Broad City. It includes Jane Kaczmarek, from Malcolm in the Middle, and Tim Matheson of The West Wing, among others. The director and writer is Marja-Lewis Ryan, known for 2010’s The Four Faced Liar and an upcoming Splash remake starring Channing Tatum.
Franco and Jacobson will play upper-middle-class siblings Seth and Kate. As Kate organizes a holiday party, Seth overdoses on heroin with his 2-year-old daughter in his care. The movie moves into talk of addiction, relapse, and recovery. The two actors have worked together before, in 2016’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and 2017’s The Lego Ninjago Movie, a spin-off of The Lego Movie from Warner Brothers.
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Heroin became a growing problem in the 90s, hitting full-scale epidemic levels in recent years. The death rates now rival the height of the AIDS epidemic, according to a 2016 report from PBS Frontline. Over 47,000 people will die because of drugs this year, mostly overdoses from heroin and prescription opioids. Car accidents kill 30,000 people a year, and gun related homicides are responsible for 11,000 annual deaths. Netflix’s decision to make a movie about the opioid epidemic is timely and more important than ever, as overdose rates get uncomfortably close to spiraling out of control. There isn’t any easy answer for the opioid crisis, but creating more awareness for the issues at hand will allow Americans to come together and defeat it.
The release date for 6 Balloons has yet to be determined, but it is reportedly in pre-production and slated to hit Netflix in 2017.